Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet


I decided to read this book after my sister reviewed it on her READING ELLIE blog.  I'm really glad that I did !  I enjoyed this book immensely.  

I enjoyed the way it was written.  It jumped back and forth, not every chapter though, between the 80's and the 40's.  I don't always enjoy this style of writing because I often find I prefer one of the times more than the other and try to read fast through the bits I least prefer to get back to the bits I'm enjoying more.  Not so with this book.  I loved the bits set in the 40's .... and the bits set in the 80's.  The author wove them together so well !

I loved the references to Japan.  Though set in Seattle, one of the main characters is Japanese-American and within the text are references to a few of the things I loved about Japan ... certain foods, cherry blossoms, Japanese words.  

The treatment of the Japanese people in this book was not something I enjoyed ... nor was it something I had really thought through, though I suppose in the back of my mind I knew had happened.  I found it a bit confronting to think we (as American's) had rounded up all the Japanese (some of whom had been born and raised in America and didn't even speak Japanese !)  and put them into confinement camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbour.   To read it in story form, rather than just fact out of a history book, always has more impact on me.  Real people.  Real lives.  It makes me thing about how people are being treated even now ...... 

I loved the interactions between the characters.  I loved the reality of life.  I found the tone of the book to be soft, even gentle ... but within that softness there were school bullies, a gruff lunch lady, a bitter father, soldiers and police.  There was a recently deceased wife, a long lost childhood sweetheart, a man torn between then and now, a homeless sax player.  A conflicted mother, a misunderstood son who "finds" a father he didn't know existed, an risk taking American girlfriend.

To me this book spoke of devotion and loyalty.  Of questioning what has always been done.  Of defying the odds.  It spoke of forgiveness, and in a round about way, the consequences of not forgiving.  It's a story of friendship and love.

I liked it.  

I think you would too ....

2 comments:

readingellie May 23, 2012 at 9:58 AM  

Oh. This is my favorite of your book reviews so far. Maybe because I have also read the book, and you were able to voice things that I hadn't in mine. If i had read just the review and not the book, I would run right out and get this one.

andrafaye May 23, 2012 at 9:30 PM  

Yeah, this actually made me want to read it...and I have not wanted to read it...for several years now!

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